Daily Links and Deals: E Ink brings rich color to ePaper, but not to e-readers

daily_links_1Today, finally a color e-ink display, but no e-reader yet. Also,  a look at how Hollywood influences library purchases in Australia, a new ComiXology subscription service, the discontinuation of the Nexus Player, and new standards for captions and subtitles. In deals, 60% off some great luggage sets and $20 off Battleborn for the PS4.

Daily Links for Wednesday, May 25, 2016:

Twitter introduces 4 big changes that will make tweets much easier to send and read (PC World) Names and pictures won’t eat into your limit anymore! And a few other good things will be coming soon. Of course, not everyone is happy about these changes.

Google pulls the plug on the Nexus Player (Liliputing) So long, Nexus Player. You’ve been discontinued.

E Ink brings rich color to ePaper, but not to e-readers (Techcrunch) We are getting closer to that color e-reader everyone wants, but we;re not anywhere close to a color e-reader yet!

Comixology launches new digital comic subscription service (Entertainment Weekly) I am in the midst of testing ComiXolgy now. I am testing the app, so there’s more to come on this story. There are a lot of complaints about the app for the Kindle Fire tablets…

Accessibility Standards: World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Expands Work on Captions and Subtitles for More Accessible Video Content (Infodocket) New global guidelines so that the caption and subtitle experience is more consistent world-wide.

New Email Alerts and RSS Feeds on Congress.gov (In Custodia Legis) If you track different legislation, this is a great new tool! This is replacing Thomas and will be a LOT easier.

Hollywood films drive Australian library book tastes (SMH) Libraries have to concentrate on the titles that readers ask for. In Australia, books buoyed by film adaptations seem to be getting the lion’s share of the interest.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary by Joseph Michelli for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, save up to 60% off luggage & accessories. Also, you can save $20 on Battleborn for the PS4.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Shadow Revolution: Crown & Key by Clay Griffith, Susan Griffith for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon for $1.99. The Extra Daily Deal is Damaged by H.M. Ward for 99 cents.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Do Fish Drink Water? Puzzling and Improbable Questions and Answers by Bill McLain for 99 cents.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: As Libraries and Archives Digitize, Implications for Maintaining Individual Privacy

daily_links_1Today, several interesting pieces on the shift to digital with a spotlight on both libraries and museums. What do these changes mean for the future? Also, stories about copyright and a new search results page for Google. In deals, running shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses for $60 and deals on Seiko men’s watches.

Daily Links for Tuesday, May 24, 2016:

Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet (The Guardian) Yesterday, I posted a link to a story on how people are misusing fair use as an excuse to commit piracy. This is a post on how copyright is being misused for censorship.

Chicago will have a film archive of live performance (Chicago Tribune) Chicago has a vibrant life theater and performance scene. This archive is an exciting development for the city.

Museums in the Age of Social (And how to support them)  (NEH) More and more museums are putting digital collections online. What does this mean for the relationship between institutions and their audiences?

Desktop Google Search redesign places Knowledge Graph results inline, displays links in cards (9 to 5 Google) That search page is going to look a little bit different!

As Libraries and Archives Digitize, Implications for Maintaining Individual Privacy (Mediashift) From a series about how libraries are changing, a look at what happens to privacy when analog goes digital.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Prince: A John Shakespeare Mystery by Rory Clements for 99 cents.

In Today’s Deals, Mizuno running shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses for $60, an Oreck Upright Vacuum and Seiko men’s watches starting at $49.99.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find has two Bob Dylan biographies in honor of his birthday. The Romance Daily Find is Grave Vengeance by Lori Sjoberg for 99 cents.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Bone Collector (The First Lincoln Rhyme Novel) by Jeffery Deaver for $1.99. The Extra Daily Deal is Realities by Marian D. Schwartz for $1.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Abandoned Prayers: An Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession and Amish Secrets by Gregg Olsen for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

The non-story about Amazon’s price drop guarantee

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There is a story from yesterday from Recode that’s gotten some traction in the news that says that Amazon has stopped refunding for price drops withing 7 days of your purchase. The information is based on a Reddit thread of what seemed like mostly unhappy customers.

The truth is, this is sort of a non-story. Amazon has experimented for years with dynamic pricing  (where different customers may see different prices for the same item). Prime Membership status has also been a factor. (You used to be able to see a different price if you logged in in as a Prime member and a lower one if you browsed under a non-Prime account.)

Amazon officially dropped the price adjustment on most items back in 2008.  Originally, the price guarantee extended to 30 days. The policy was then dropped, although some customers continued to be able to get refunds within seven days of a purchase. You can read a thread about it here on the Amazon customer forums. The thread has been resurrected several times over the last six months when customers started reporting that Amazon was no longer honoring refund requests.

According to the Recode article,

Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law told Recode the policy was always limited to televisions and that any customer who has received refunds on other products was granted an “exception.” But it’s clear that those exceptions were previously given out freely, and now they are not.

The Recode piece suggests that price-tracking companies like Earny and Paribus have played a role in Amazon’s change in their unofficial refund policy. While price tracking may be a factor, it is apparent that Amazon has  paying more attention to its bottom line. A few months back, we were seeing stories about serial returners getting their accounts banned for excessive returns.  One of the Reddit posters said they had asked for price drop refunds over 50 times in the last 3 years. That seems like a very high number – I’ve been an Amazon member for almost 20 years and have only asked for a price drop refund once. Given the cost of providing customer service, maybe Amazon is deciding that price drop refunds are just too expensive in the long run.

Does it matter to you whether Amazon does refunds when prices drop? Or, do you do like I do and watch prices before you buy?

Daily Links and Deals – Why Amazon is the king of innovation: Kindle’s clout

daily_links_1Today, a look at the Kindle’s role in making Amazon the most innovative tech company. Also, how the Chromebook with Android might be an unbeatable combination, a different look at fair use, and stories on how we use information and the internet’s favorite book. In deals, savings on Rosetta Stone software, Micro SD cards and $10 off the Fire for Kids bundle.

Daily Links for Monday, May 23, 2016:

How to find wisdom in the age of information (The Next Web) We hear a lot about information overload. But how well do we incorporate that information into our lives and what’s the relationship between mere information and actual wisdom?

Chromebook + Android apps = Trouble for Windows PCs (ZD Net)  If you haven’t tried a Chromebook, this may sound like hyperbole. Both if you live most of your life online (browsing, cloud storage), you’ll find very few things you can’t do with one. Adding Android apps would make for an unbeatable connection.

What is the Internet’s Favorite Book? (Priceonomics) From the Hunger Games to Harry Potter. everyone has an opinion on their favorite. What’s the collective’s opinion?

Fair Use Needs To Be Protected & All Abusers Need To Be Punished (Torrent Freak) For all the stories we hear about copyright takedowns of material that is genuinely fair use, we forget that there are people out there abusing the process too.

New subscription service Circle Go lets parents manage kids’ devices outside the home (Techcrunch) As our children are getting more and more tech at a younger age, setting limits on tech use outside the home may be really important.

 I salvaged my shattered iPhone with a ‘Band-Aid’ screen cover (Engadget) Well, at least temporarily….

Why Amazon is the king of innovation: Kindle’s clout (ZD Net)  An argument that Amazon is the most innovative tech company around and why.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario for 99 cents.

In Today’s Deals, get up to 65% off Rosetta Stone Power Pack sets. There are also some deals on several brands of Micro SD cards. For a limited time, you can also get $10 off the Kindle for Kids Bundle.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is over 70 Jughead comics for 99 cents each. The Romance Daily Find is River Rising by Dorothy Garlock for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire for $1.99. The Extra Daily Deal is The Ending Series: The Complete Series by Lindsey Fairleigh, Lindsey Pogue for $2.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Book of Strange by Michael Faber for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Friday Echo: Google Takes on the Amazon Echo

fire_TVThere were two big Alexa stories this week: An update to the Alexa features on the Fire TVs and news about Google’s new Echo competitor.

New Alexa features coming to the Fire TV

On Tuesday, Amazon announced new Alexa features for the Fire TV boxes and sticks.  integrated voice search across 59 content partners including Hulu, Showtime, Starz, HBO Go and more. According to Amazon, these new features will be automatically rolled out in over-the-air software updates in the coming weeks.

The new abilities include:

  • Launch apps using Alexa–Say “Open HBO Now” or “Launch Hulu” into the Fire TV Voice Remote to instantly open the app
  • Play Amazon Video and Add-On Subscription content from Starz, Showtime, and more using Alexa–Say “Play Interstellar,” or “Watch Veep” and get even easier access to your favorite TV shows and movies
  • Find local movie show times via Alexa–Ask “What movies are playing nearby?” or “Where is The Jungle Book playing?” to find out what movies are playing in theatres near you or specific movie times
  • YouTube 4K Ultra HD–Access YouTube’s full 4K library via the YouTube.com app on Amazon Fire TV when connected to a UHD-compatible TV
  • Search for local businesses and restaurants using Alexa–Ask “What Mexican restaurants are nearby?” to find restaurants around you or ask “What time does the nearest bank close?” to get convenient information on businesses nearby
  • Access Kindle e-books via Alexa–Say “Read The Nightingale” to listen to text-to-speech enabled books from your Kindle library through Amazon Fire TV

Some of the features (the local businesses info and the ability to read Kindle ebooks via the Fire TV)  were already available in last month’s update. Note that these features and the upcoming ones are only available on the latest generation Fire TV boxes and sticks running at least OS 5.

Alexa works a bit differently on the Fire TV than she does on the Amazon Echo or the Amazon Tap. You can find more help on using Alexa on your Fire TV here.

Google takes on the Amazon Echo

Last week we heard the news that Google was going to release a competitor to the Echo code-named “Chirp”. This week, we heard that the device is going to be called Google Home. There’s been a lot of talk about the name (yeah, lame) and how it looks (yeah, it does kind of look like an air freshener) and how it is designed to compete with the Amazon Echo. The Home will do many of the same things as the Echo, such as answering questions, providing the weather forecast, etc. Unlike the Echo, the Home uses the Cast standard and can broadcast to other speakers and your Chromecast. And, you can customize the colors. There are two areas where it doesn’t have some of the features Alexa has: Home will not have multi-account support, at least at the beginning. The Amazon Echo and Amazon Tap both have support for Household Accounts. Also unlike the Amazon Echo’s Skills , Google has not make Home’s API public yet, meaning that there won’t be any third-party applications, at least not for a while.

There’s no date announced for the Home yet. If you are interested, you can sign up at Home.Google.com and you’ll be notified when the device becomes available.

Skills

Alexa already has some abilities that you can customize. One of these is the custom news update called a Flash Briefing. Using the Alexa App, you can customize the sources from which  Alexa draws the news. This section is continuing to expand and you can choose from detailed news sources, headlines only and sports news. That way, you get just the amount of news you are looking for.

The Flash Briefing is a standard feature on the Amazon Echo and Amazon Tap. But what if you want something else. That where Skills come in. Skills are developed for Alexa by third parties which you can install add specific abilities to your Alexa. You can install a Skill via your Alexa app.  When you want to use it, you simply tell Alexa to ope it, then tell her what to do.

Since my husband is a musician, we installed a Skill called Metronome. We say “Open, Metronome” and Alexa asks how many beats per minute we want her to play. While most people wouldn’t need a metronome skill on their Echo, for us, it definitely has a place. 🙂 Each Skill also has its own specific help section.

There are already a large number of Skills available. They run the gamut from Buddha Quotes to children’s apps. New skills are constantly being developed for the system. You can also write reviews for the the Skills you use.

Need more info or help with Skills. You can find help here.

Just for Fun:

Jeff Bezos has admitted to being heavily influenced by Star Trek.  If you are a fan of the franchise as well, say one of the following to Alexa: “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” or “Coffee, Black.”

Need more help with Alexa on your Echo? Here’s the help page.

Daily Links and Deals -Through The Looking Glass: How Children’s Books Have Grown Up

daily_links_1Today, there’s a thoughtful piece on children’s books have changed over the years. Also, disturbing news about which stakeholders are given preference in DMCA hearings,another library starts loaning ties and more. In deals, a Garmin watch, 50% off Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 14. And it’s last call for that $40 Roku stick!

Daily Links for Thursday, May 19, 2016:

Through The Looking Glass: How Children’s Books Have Grown Up (NPR) Our attitudes about children’s books have definitely changed over the years.

Sharp Dressed, Well Read: This Philly Library Lets Job Hunters Borrow Ties (Takepart) Taking a cure from another library, necktie loans are now a thing in this Philly library.

Copyright holders dominate closed door DMCA hearing (Torrent Freak) When corporate interests get a seat at the table and the rest of us don’t, how exactly does this serve the public interest?

This app lets rescue workers send offline alerts when disaster strikes (The Verge) In an emergency, phone lines (landlines and cell phones) go down. This mesh network aims to fill an need for emergency workers.

Google’s Family Library will let Android users share apps (Engadget) It is so nice to see digital family libraries really become more of a norm. We share physical things in a family, why not the digital goods?

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes the Nebula award winning After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Author) for $1.99

In Today’s Deals, get Up to 27% off the Garmin Forerunner 920XT Multisport GPS Watch and 50% offAdobe Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 14. You can also still find the $40 Roku stick and the Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Tablet, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB with Kid-Proof Case.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Where All the Dead Lie (Taylor Jackson Series #7) by J. T. Ellison for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene for $1.99. The Extra Daily Deal is Bury the Hatchet: Tulsa Thunderbirds (Book 1) by Catherine Gayle for 99 cents/

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths for $2.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: 5 ways to search Gmail that everyone should know about

daily_links_1Today, tips for searching through those crowded Gmail folders. Also, a new Netflix speed test, info on the iTunes music deletion issue and a new, library-connected digital book club from Overdrive. In deals, a bargain on the Kindle HD 6 for Kids tablet and a Roku streaming stick for $4.

Daily Links for Wednesday, May 18, 2016:

E-books: a twist in the tale (The Bookseller) Who’s on top? One day it’s ebooks, one day it’s print. One thing becomes clear: it’s just not as predictable as everybody thought.

New version of iTunes addresses the music deletion issue (Techcrunch) Well, sort of…. Is it a bug? User error? Apple engineers are somewhat stumped.

Netflix just launched the simplest internet speed test ever (The Next Web) A new free speed test tool to see if you are really getting those speeds you’ve been promised.

5 ways to search Gmail that everyone should know about (PC World) For some reason, the  Gmail folders seem to fill up really fast. This will make it easier to find what you are looking for.

Digital Book Clubs — the next chapter in the evolution of Book Clubs (No Shelf Required) I’d missed this one from a few days ago.Have you ever tried a digital book club? What did you think, pro or con? I’ve had mixed experiences.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Sara’s Song by Fern Michaels for 99 cents.

In Today’s Deals, today theres not too much focus on tech; we’ve got deals on  Crocs, hammocks , Tumi bags and a food storage set. 🙂 You can also still find the $40 Roku stick and the Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Tablet, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB with Kid-Proof Case.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Front Lines by Michael Grant for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Serving Trouble: A Second Shot Novel by Sara Jane Stone for 99 cents.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Life After Life A Novel by Kate Atkinson for $2.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron for $2.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.